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35 looted artefacts to be displayed at Manhyia Palace

The Ashanti Kingdom is expected to display 35 pieces of looted artefacts in the coming days after they were presented to the Manhyia Palace by the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum.

This comes after officials from the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles handed over the first batch of looted artefacts taken by the British 150 years ago during the Sagrenti War.

The Fowler Museum presented artefacts including ornaments, jewellery, talismans, and other treasures.

The Victoria & Albert and the British Museum have among others also returned artefacts such as a gold peace pipe, a sword of state and gold badges worn by officials charged with cleansing the soul of the king.

The return of the items comes ahead of celebrations marking the silver jubilee of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II.

A renowned historian at the Manhyia Palace, Sarfo Kantanka expressed excitement about the arrival of the stolen items and highlighted the cultural significance of the artefacts.

“Every piece of art you see among Africans in general and the Ashanti in particular is of great significance. It speaks volumes; it’s of physical, spiritual and moral significance. These are our own artefacts which were forcefully taken away. So, if they are being brought back, we have to jubilate because it is ours.

“Again, it is of great spiritual significance. Apart from what you are seeing, the artworks could be copied by modern artists and modern craftsmen. Each piece also has a spiritual significance. So, it is important to us physically, spiritually, mentally because we study it in schools,” he told Citi News in an interview.

The historian is also hopeful that, with continued negotiations, the items could be given to the Manhyia Palace Museum permanently.

“So long as negotiations are going on and so long as they are feeling guilty for what they did, it stands that they will bring it for good,” he stated.

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